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2012 Audi A3

Overview
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2012 Audi A3 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.6

Blurring the line between hatchback and wagon, the 2012 Audi A3 combines utility and excitement in a compact design. Despite its entry-level price point, the 2012 A3 offers a variety of upscale amenities and drivetrain options. Ample cargo capacity and available all-wheel drive make the Audi A3 one of the most versatile cars on the road. For years, hatchback designs were unappealing to most American car buyers. Lately, however, shoppers are beginning to appreciate the flexibility offered by hatchbacks, and the Audi A3's recent sales figures are a prime example of the market shift.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are looking for a vehicle that mixes practicality with dynamic handling, the 2012 Audi A3 will fit the bill. While there are several sensible alternatives including the Volkswagen GTI and Lexus CT 200h, the 2012 Audi A3 delivers a unique blend of excitement and refinement its competitors simply cannot match.

You May Not Like This Car If...

At first glance, the 2012 Audi A3's near-$30,000 base price may appear attractive, however, Audi's pricing structure and abundance of options can swiftly inflate the A3's price well into the mid-$30s. If you are simply in the market for a sharp-handling, practical hatchback with a price tag under $25,000, the VW GTI or Mazda3 hatchback are worthy alternatives.

What's New for 2012

After receiving a modest refresh in 2009 and the end of its current lifecycle in sight, the Audi A3 remains virtually unchanged for the 2012 model year.

Driving the A3

Driving Impressions Despite 2012 being in the final year of its current lifecycle, the A3 continues to deliver a desirable balance of comfortable ride and sharp handling. The Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering...

is appropriately communicative, while the 4-wheel independent suspension is both predictable and controlled. Opting for the sport suspension and 18-inch wheels will add an insignificant amount of harshness to the A3's otherwise composed ride. Regardless of your preference for manual shifting, we recommend you experience Audi's S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission before committing to the 6-speed manual. The dual-clutch automatic is more responsive when on the throttle and provides lightning-quick shifts, while (obviously) being more convenient in stop-and-go driving.
Favorite Features

QUATTRO ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
The jury is in when it comes to the benefits of all-wheel drive. In virtually any road condition, dividing the engine's output among all four wheels provides a level of control not available when only two wheels are driven. We only regret that Audi's quattro all-wheel drive setup is no longer available in the U.S. market with the 6-speed manual transmission.

HATCHBACK VERSATILITY
The A3's 5-door configuration almost exponentially expands the utility of the A3 platform. With the rear seats up, you'll enjoy comfortable seating for four, along with 19.5 cubic feet of luggage space for overnight travel. When folded, the travel options (for two) are unlimited, providing secure, accommodating storage for any number of activity-oriented pursuits.

2012 Audi A3 Details
Interior

Despite its entry-level status, the 2012 Audi A3 features a beautifully crafted interior where high-quality materials abound. The base seats are comfortable and supportive, while the available sport seat's aggressive bolsters keep the driver on lockdown during spirited driving. The 2012 Audi A3's interior is easily adaptable, and with sensible ergonomics and logical placement of controls comes a user-friendly driving experience. Tight rear legroom is expected with any compact hatchback, and the A3 is no exception to that rule. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split design and although they do not fold completely flat, they do allow for reasonable cargo versatility.

Exterior

In 2006, the Audi A3 introduced elegant design to the 4-door hatchback segment. The A3, like every Audi model, possesses Audi's signature Singleframe front grille. However, the A3's overall style is particularly unique, a rarity considering Audi's recent designs. The A3's coupe-esque roofline combined with an aggressive nose projects a sense of forward motion. The available 18" Sport Package supplements the A3's aggressive design with 18-inch 5-spoke wheels wrapped with summer performance tires.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Audi A3 comes generously equipped at its sub-$30,000 base price. Standard equipment for its base – which Audi calls "Premium" – trim includes dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating surfaces, fog lights, and Audi concert radio with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, 140 watts of power and 10 speakers. Functional equipment includes cruise control, remote keyless entry, halogen headlights, and Audi's Sideguard airbag system.

Optional Equipment

Audi's Premium Plus model grade adds xenon headlights, an Aluminum Medial inlay in the doors and center console, Bluetooth mobile phone capability, and a power-adjustable driver's seat. Audi's Titanium Sport package provides a lower, firmer suspension for more precise handling, sport seats for better lateral support and piano black interior trim. Those living – and surviving – in cold climates may desire the Cold Weather package, offering heated seats, mirrors and windshield washer nozzles. Standalone options include Audi's Open Sky panorama sunroof, dark walnut wood inlays, navigation, rear side airbags and roof rails.

Under the Hood

Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is perennially regarded as one of the best drivetrains available in its luxury segment. Producing 200 horsepower at 5,100-6,000 rpm, and 207 lb-ft of torque at between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm, the turbocharged four is as flexible as it is fast. If you want to maximize your efficiency, Audi's direct injected 2.0-liter clean diesel is a compelling argument for the non-hybrid drivetrain, with adequate power, generous torque (236 lb-ft at 1,750-2,500 rpm) and a whopping 42 miles per gallon (EPA highway). We only wish Audi would combine its diesel offering with quattro all-wheel drive.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
200 horsepower @ 5,100-6,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
21/30 mpg (manual), 22/28 mpg (automatic), 21/28 mpg (automatic, quattro)

2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4200 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg

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2012 Audi A3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 132 Ratings for the 2006 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

love the way it drives.

By on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 142,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I owned the car for three years now. It's fun to drive. I owned a 2.8 before and having the 2.0t is the best set up audi designed. Go and test drive one for yourself I know you will love it!!!"

Great all-around car!!

By on Sunday, March 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great handling, lots of cargo space"

Cons: "A bit more expensive than competition"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I thought all cars were compromises, but this car does it all!! This is a fantastic city car with a very small turning radius, yet the 4-door hatchback fits five passengers plus tons of stuff. The 2.0 Turbo engine is a lot of fun, particularly when paired with the 6-speed manual transmission. The engine produces way more power than necessary to get this car moving faster than you might realize, and the handling on the highway as well as winding mountain roads is superb, as you would expect from a German make. This is also a great winter car; I have driven the Audi through 10 inches of fresh snow and seen a Range Rover (perhaps with summer tires?) struggle to climb an icy road that this car conquered with ease. Overall, I could not be happier with a car!"

Loved the drive over the 8.5 years I've had car

By on Friday, February 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, safety in small pkg"

Cons: "premium gas, expensive tires, clip breaks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I will miss this car when I trade it in, but the paint oxidation and broken visor clip for the 4th time and the repair bills are just adding up. It has been fun to drive and I enjoyed the convenience of the hatchback, my dogs have loved it too."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I will be sad to have to trade it in....

By on Friday, January 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my A3 TDI new in 2010. Handles great, great mileage, looks great. The cold weather package is a must in cold climate and works like a charm. Now for the negative: I had the battery give out on me just recently but it was covered in the 4 year warranty. Also had the waterpump replaced as I was losing coolant. Tires do wear out quickly, I have to replace mine at 25K. I do not think that this is Audi's fault, the conti procontacts that are on it just do not have a long life. Despite the few issues above, I love the car. It worked well for us and was our "go to" car (our other car is a Jeep) until the second baby came along, now it is just too small. I am looking to buy another Audi but I will be very sad to have to give up this one. As of note, Audi has a great customer service, so any troubles I ever had were handled in a completely satisfactory way."

Great Car

By on Friday, December 13, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fuel economy, gas mileage, turbo, fun to drive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We love our Audi A3... It has so many modern conveniences while still being efficient. Tremendous gas mileage, room for friends, room for golf clubs/groceries. Plenty of get-up-and-go with the turbo engine. Just a very smartly engineered vehicle that is perfect daily commutes and road-trips."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love My Little A3

By on Saturday, November 02, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,250

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fuel economy, fun to drive, great styling"

Cons: "Sometimes feels too small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've owned my Audi A3 (Premium Plus) since 2010. It was love at first sight. The exterior styling is sporty with a touch of economy. The torque of the turbo diesel make it accelerate like a sports car. The fuel mileage makes driving anything else seem wasteful. The tight handling make me look for roads with curves. The interior is all Audi. Very nicely done. The only complain might be that it's bit noisy on rough roads. The suspension is tight, so those rough roads cause me to apologize to my passengers. But, I love the feel of the road. I've got 75K mile on her now and looking forward to rolling over a couple hundred thousand more. - R"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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